2015 was a big year for wellness travel as hard-working folks realized getting burnt-out was not on their bucket list. It's no longer trendy to brag about not using your vacation days and in some cases companies are mandating employees take time off. With more and more wellness travel opportunities out there, this year maximize your days off and return home not only refreshed and relaxed, but with better well-being.
Laos -- Tourism may be the fastest growing sector in Laos, but when that number is around 500,000 new people a year, you can rest assured there are still plenty of places to visit where you'll be the only traveler around for miles. From fairytale landscapes, which have preserved unique wildlife to local markets offering new smells and tastes, everyone can find their form of wellness here. In Luang Prabang, where the Old Town is less than a mile long, there is plenty to explore on your own via bicycle or Tuk-Tuk, but waking up for morning alms is a must do. Tak Bak, the gathering of monks at dawn, has them parading the streets collecting food and blessings from the local community. Ask around to find a local place away from the tourist crowd to participate. Here, you'll find a more authentic experience and be able to participate in giving back. Don't make your Southeast Asia trip all about the highlights, instead explore the more remote countryside by heading north into the mountains of Muang La. Here you'll experience the rich scenery and be surrounded by natural beauty. Stay at a secret retreat allowing for time to slow down and unwind. Visit the local villages and bring a smile to the Hmong people, and make sure to explore the salt mines and the hot springs, which are a perfect way to reconnect with yourself and to make new connections with a remote part of the world.
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